Posted in Altadena, Books, Friends

Bookishly Yours

My friend Karin passed away two months ago. She wasn’t one to share her troubles so her friends didn’t know she was ill. At her passing, we were gobsmacked. If you knew her or read her writing, you know how clever and funny she was.

She really was. She hated links in blog posts but she’ll have to endure this one: Altadena Hiker

Generally speaking, books–the physical things that have spines and pages and take up space–well, those wonderful objects now rest in the delicate balance between “These are the best objects ever” and “What ever will we do with all these?”

Karin departed with no plan for her earthly possessions. On the last day her house was being emptied, I rescued her books from the dumpster. I don’t have room for any more books so I’ve been driving them around in my car all week. Along with her dusty leather jacket and a London Fog raincoat she wore in the 80’s. And a wall hanging that covered a big hole in her bedroom wall. It looked as if she’d given that wall a good kick.

Her books: gardening, gardening in southern California, hiking, hiking in southern California, the history of southern California, cook books, classic novels, a coffee table book about Norway (her parents were emigrees), a sprinkling of favorite childhood books (Caddie Woodlawn, Betsy in Spite of Herself). Jhumpa Lahiri might be pleased to know that she was quite literally snatched off the dump-bound truck, along with “Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege” by Laura Barraclough.

One of the guys cleaning out the house asked if I were going to give the books to a library. My mind flashed on the huge library sale scheduled for the weekend. Even libraries are shedding their books these days.

I don’t know what to make of a world without physical books. I don’t know what to make of a world without Karin.


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

3 thoughts on “Bookishly Yours

  1. None of us knows what to make of a world without Karin. It is still so hard to believe she’s gone. I’m glad you rescued the books, Kelly. There is a Goodwill store 703 N. Lake Ave. that is all books, all the time. You could donate them there. It’s a popular store. I’ve been there several times, dropping off or picking up.

  2. Ah, Kelly. With so many ads intruding, I’m not even sure I if I’m commenting on your writing. I hope so.
    You’ve gotten me sad, too, about Karin, about the end of the stories in her head, about the need to gather up the remains of our days and move on. So final,,when death is the closing note. I think of the various people we’ve known at Angels. Paul for one. Most recently, Lady. And we’re getting older, too. Well. For now, continue with Karin’s and with your story, and I will with mine. That’s all there is to say!

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